Friday, December 15, 2017

The Role of Technology in Law.

Consideration has been given for the editing and publishing of this post

Technological advancements over the recent years has made life easy and enjoyable. Communication and social interactions have been made simpler since people can interact in real time even when they are worlds apart. Technology has not just simplified communication, it has impacted other spheres of life as well. Entertainment has become refined because of technology. Education and research have become straightforward because of technology. The transport sector has also been boosted because of technology since travelers can book their tickets online without having to make long trips to the bus station, train station or the airport to book their tickets. And that’s not all. The legal field has also benefited from technology with lawyers and clients using modern technologies to discuss cases and share case files. The legal field, however, has been slow to adopt technology in its practice with practitioners in the field still of the belief that age-old practices such as manual filing systems are the best when it comes to case management. Such methods, however, are cumbersome and you may end up wasting a lot of time searching for case documents; time that you would have used to prepare the best strategy for your case. Lawyers in South Carolina and other legal officers who adopt technology in their work are able to streamline their processes and this, more than often, improves their productivity. To understand this issue further, here are some of the roles technology plays in the legal field.

1.      Seamless communication with clients.
Communication is very important in the management of court cases with clients demanding to be updated on everything about their cases. This was difficult before technology was used in communication since the only way clients could get information on their cases was when they visited their lawyers in their offices. This was time-consuming and tiring but with technology, lawyers can now keep in touch with their clients whenever necessary. Face to face communication and meetings are still very important when it comes to discussing a case with the clients but with modern technology, lawyers can send their clients real-time updates about the case. Clients, therefore, don’t have to walk to their lawyer’s office for updates and information on their cases. Email, phone calls, and skype are some of the channels used for this purpose.

2.      Digital file storage.
Lawyers deal with a lot of documents in their practice. These documents include case files, witness statements, and affidavits. All these documents are very important and as such, they should be stored properly where they are safe and can be accessed easily when the need arises. File cabinets were used, they are still being used by some firms, for this purpose but the problem with such physical storage systems is that they can be damaged by fire and natural calamities such as floods and earthquakes. When this happens, lawyers may lose all their vital documents and this very bad for their careers. With digital file storage systems, files are stored in the cloud and when calamities happen, lawyers don’t lose their documents. Since the documents are stored online, they can be accessed from any computer as long as there is a stable internet connection. Files are usually stored with appropriate tags and this makes retrieving the files very easy. That was not the case with manual storage systems since documents were stashed in a cabinet haphazardly and this made retrieving crucial case files very difficult. Some office would even hire filling assistants to help organize the documents; an expense that those who use digital file storage systems are able to avoid.

3.      Virtual offices.
Advancements in technology have made it easy for lawyers take their services online. They can easily advertise their services online on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and communicate with clients via email and other means. Some of these digital advertisement means are absolutely free of charge and legal officers are able to cut advertisement costs. Lawyers can also set up websites and post information about their services. They can also publish the cases they have handled and the outcome of those cases for the public to see. Clients looking to hire a lawyer for their legal challenges can review the cases posted to see if that particular lawyer is good for their case. This saves potential clients the hassle of having to visit different law firms as they search for legal representation.

4.      Promotes collaboration.
Technology has made it easy for people to collaborate on issues even when they are worlds apart. With technological solutions such as video conferencing, lawyers can collaborate with each other on a case without having to be in the same room. Before technology, interested parties would have to make arrangements to travel to a common location to discuss a case and this took a lot of time. Cases dragged on for a long time and this delayed justice to the victims.

5.      Workflow automation.
Document management software have made it easy for the workers in an organization to collaborate on office duties such as approving payments and signing off on office supplies. The workers in an organization are integrated into a workflow management software with permissions and access to company information and resources granted based on the position of an individual in the organization. When documents requiring attention are fed into the workflow, users are notified by email to log into the workflow software to perform the task required of them. Such workflow software can be accessed online and a user doesn’t have to be at the office to perform the tasks required of him or her. This saves a lot of time since authorizations and approvals can be given even when a worker is out of the office. Edits and changes done on a document are saved online and this helps promote accountability at the workplace.

6.      Social media engagement.
Social media has grown to become the preferred platform where users discuss issues affecting their lives. Issues are discussed openly and this has helped unearth solutions to some of life’s challenges. In fact, social media has proved the perfect place to seek justice to social issues and challenges by creating the buzz needed to attract the attention of the concerned authorities. Lawyers can also use social media to raise awareness about a certain issue and to get other social media users involved in demanding justice on various issues. They can also comment on the social issues being discussed online and give their opinions from a legal perspective. Legal officers are, however, advised to be careful with their social media engagement so as not to appear partisan as this could see them miss out on potential clients.

7.      Accounting software.
Law firms are enterprises just like other businesses and this calls for the proper management of their law firms’ accounts. To aid with this, lawyers can use top-level accounting software to be able to account for the funds the law firm makes and their expenditure. Such software help the law firms determine their financial position at a given time and this helps with planning.

Technology has greatly improved the legal field and lawyers are advised to incorporate it in their practice for the best results.

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